The secret of this dish is the fact it’s not really strictly speaking roast pork. In the show Sōma is challenged to make a meat dish by an incredibly unpleasant woman looking to forcibly take over his family diner. The catch is she’s already had her goons destroy all the meat they could find on the premises. Undeterred our valiant food hero sets to work making this dish with goods he picked up for breakfast. Needless to say a fabulous visual metaphor followed and the diner was saved. Hooray!
I know what you’re thinking, ‘If it’s not really roast pork then what is it?’. Mostly it’s potato. Mashed potato, onions and mushrooms wrapped in thick cut bacon to be precise. Slow roasted and finished with a red wine based sauce and it tastes good. A lot better than I necessarily thought it would.
Unable to find this particular recipe in the manga I pretty much just chucked things into pots and pans and hoped for the best. In more precise terms these ‘things’ were:
- four potatoes
- a sizeable onion
- a handful of chestnut mushrooms
- a large pack of thick cut bacon
- some rosemary for the roast itself
- a small bottle of red wine
- soy sauce and…
- butter for the finishing touch
In terms of cooking skills this is an easy one, there’s really not too much to it. Peel and roughly chop the potatoes for boiling/steaming, whichever you prefer, and dice the onions and mushrooms to sauté those bad boys in some butter. Personally I’m a steam kinda gal, I find the potatoes mash a lot better because they haven’t retained excess moisture like they would from boiling but as long as their soft that’s all that matters.
After your potatoes are soft and lightly mashed, you’ll need some texture to shape the log, it’s time to mix in your cooked onions and mushrooms. For the love of God please DO NOT try to shape the mixture until a good 15-20 minutes have passed. Otherwise your hands will lose the motivation to work. Trust me on this, it’s bloody hot. After a suitable time period has passed you just shape it into an unappealing looking log like shape. Simples.
Next comes the bacon. Everybody loooves bacon, it’s delicious. When you wrap up the log just to be sure to try to have it all covered in the meaty goodness then get it all nice and snug in a lightly oiled tray. In hindsight I would also advise potentially wrapping this bad boy with string. I didn’t think it would matter too much but mine kind of exploded on one side in the oven. Still delicious, just a little messy. As you can see I also haphazardly stabbed mine with rosemary sprigs as per the vague instructions from the show.
My little meaty baby was fired in the oven at around 190 degrees Celsius/374 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 5 for around 40-45 minutes and then it spent a few minutes under the grill for extra crisping. Now for the sauce! It’s super easy; pour that whole small bottle of red wine into a pan, I think it was roughly 180ml of wine I can’t really remember, and let it boil for around 5-10 minutes to reduce it. Bung in a knob of butter and a splash of mirin and soy then pour over your fake roast. Voilà, the finished product.
They say looks can be deceiving and that is certainly the case here. I know it doesn’t look all that fantastic but it tastes great. Not quite the meaty wonder it’s made out to be in the show, the filling certainly soaks in some of the meaty flavour but the star for me was the sauce. The accidental splits in mine gave it room to soak into the filling which really spruced the whole thing up.
Get your butt in that kitchen and see for yourself!